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SEGMENT 3 DANIEL 7
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Segment 3 - Daniel 7
God is Sovereign

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“… Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.” - Isaiah 45: 21

Prophecy Reveals the Process of Salvation

 

Those who study Bible prophecy study the deeper things of God. The beauty of prophecy is that we have an opportunity to understand God’s grand purposes and timeless ways, even before history records His actions. Unfortunately, many Christians dismiss the importance of prophecy without understanding anything about the subject. I often hear, “Prophecy has nothing to do with salvation, so why bother with it?” While it may be true that prophecy does not bring salvation, the fulfillment of prophecy has everything to do with faith in God’s Word. Isn’t this one of the object lessons from Noah’s flood? If the study of salvation reveals the justice and mercy of God, then the study of prophecy reveals the process through which God fulfills His Word.

 

God Amplifies the Matrix

 

About fifty years after God gave King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel the vision of the metal man, Daniel received a second vision.  This second vision is important for several reasons. First, Daniel 7 is a repetition and expansion of Daniel 2. The vision in Daniel 2 is amplified in Daniel 7 so that we might better understand the ways and plans of God. Second, Daniel 7 is an important vision because God adds certain details to the prophetic matrix that later visions will build upon. Daniel 7 identifies the timing of two events upon which other prophecies depend. If the timing of these two events are overlooked or inaccurately identified, the other prophecies that depend upon the timing will not harmonize. Bible prophecy is something like a house of cards. Every new layer depends upon the strength of the layer beneath it.

 

The vision in Daniel 2 can be compared to “sub-flooring,” that is, the first layer in our prophetic understanding. Daniel 2 describes a chronological sequence of seven kingdoms that spans more than 2,600 years (605 B.C. to the Second Coming). If the vision in Daniel 2 is a sub-flooring, then the vision in Daniel 7 is the flooring. Daniel 7 lies on top of Daniel 2. (See Chart 3.1.) When bonded together, these two visions strengthen each other. Both visions are identical in length because they cover the same time period. The “nails” that hold these two visions together are the elements within them. The first four kingdoms described in Daniel 2 perfectly align with the four beasts described in Daniel 7. Thus, the four beasts in Daniel 7 are a repetition and enlargement of the first four kingdoms presented in Daniel 2. Carefully notice how repetition and enlargement is used in Chart 3.1 By amplifying the elements of each vision with information from other visions, God demonstrates the all important operation of a matrix, and this matrix makes our prophetic foundation more secure.


For at least two reasons, God implemented this architecture in Daniel so the history would produce this matrix. First, if the same kingdom is identified in different visions with unique specifications, the chance of misinterpretation is greatly reduced, and different views of the same kingdom expand our understanding of that kingdom and its duration. For example, the thighs of bronze in Daniel 2 represent the same kingdom as the leopard with four wings in Daniel 7. (Notice the kingdom of Grecia in Chart 3.1.) Second, God established the matrix in Daniel because He foreknew that He could build on it 700 years later when He gave John the visions recorded in Revelation. In other words, the matrix established in Daniel is integral to the book of Revelation.

Daniel 8 Briefly Introduced

Since we are observing the use of repetition and enlargement, allow me to jump ahead for a moment and add a few more elements to Chart 3.1 from the visions in Daniel 8 and 11. The added data may help you quickly see how the architecture in Daniel produces a historical matrix. As the matrix grows larger, it becomes more comprehensive. Eventually, every prophetic item in Daniel and Revelation will harmoniously fit within this matrix.

Two years after receiving the vision recorded in Daniel 7, God gave Daniel yet another vision. Even though Babylon had not fallen at the time of this vision, Daniel knew that another kingdom would displace Babylon. During the vision in Daniel 8, Daniel saw a great conflict between a ram with two horns and a goat that had a large horn protruding out of its head (maybe something like a unicorn horn). The angel told Daniel that the ram represented the rising kingdom of the Medes and the Persians, and the two horns of the ram represented its two kings. In addition, the goat represented the future kingdom of Grecia, which would eventually destroy the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The angel told Daniel that the great horn of the goat represented the first prominent king of the Grecian empire that proved to be Alexander the Great. (Daniel 8:20,21)  With this information in mind, let us consider the first thousand years (605 B.C. – A.D.476) of the prophetic matrix that develops in the book of Daniel.

Daniel 2, 7 and 8


Daniel 11 Briefly Introduced

Notice how the layers are adding up. The matrix is becoming more inclusive. The ram in Daniel 8, the bear in Daniel 7 and the chest of silver in Daniel 2 represent the same entity, Medo-Persia! This matrix provides a solid footing for all the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. God’s use of repetition and enlargement puts our prophetic faith on solid ground. While we are discussing the expansion and development of this matrix, let us jump forward to Daniel’s last vision, look at Chart 3.3, and add portions of Daniel 11 to the matrix.

 

Look at the top rows on Chart 3.3. Now, review the words spoken to Daniel during the reign of Darius the Mede: “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases.” (Daniel 11:2,3) History confirms the rise of these four kings in Persia, and history confirms the overall progression of kingdoms presented in this matrix. God knows the future before it comes to pass and His Word cannot fail. The matrix in Chart 3.3 spans more than a 1,000 years – from the rise of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar to the fall of civil Rome in A.D. 476. Even though the book of Daniel offers more detail than this matrix presently shows, a thousand years of history and prophecy should be sufficient to demonstrate that God’s matrix conforms to a specific architecture! Remember Rule One?


Repetition and enlargement are indispensable to the study of prophecy. No prophecy in Daniel or Revelation tells a whole story within itself. In fact, neither book, Daniel nor Revelation, tells the whole story! The visions in both books interconnect and depend upon each other. Many Bible teachers today offer erroneous prophetic conclusions because they lift prophetic segments out of their context and this violates the rules found in the book of Daniel. Unless the Bible student has valid rules of interpretation, truth cannot be determined. The visions of Daniel and Revelation can be manipulated in an infinite number of wrong ways. Remember this: All of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation link to each other, and together they form one harmonious matrix.

 

The matrix teaches us two things: First, each prophetic element in Daniel can be tied to a specific time and location. Second, the intended meaning of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation is found after we align all of the elements within the prophecies. A puzzle is not solved until all of its pieces are in their right places. The events described in each prophecy are the nails that hold all of the layers together. When the prophetic matrix of Daniel and Revelation is aligned correctly, a marvelous prophetic picture unfolds. Understanding the big picture is important. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are not limited to one nation or one church. Instead, the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation encompass all nations, kindred, tongues and people. God has a predetermined blueprint that affects everyone on Earth. All prophetic pieces fit together in an interlocking way so that every element in every prophecy is supported by the elements around it! This is similar to the arch over a castle’s doorway. Shaped stones support the span of the arch because the architecture design of the doorway keeps the arch intact. In a similar way, all of the prophecies in Daniel support each other through the architectural design embedded in Daniel. God designed this feature so that at the end of time, His people could have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of His plans. Of course, people who dismiss the importance of prophecy will not have a clue as to what is going on when the next prophetic event occurs.

 

Daniel Saw a Lion, Bear, Leopard and Terrible Beast

Now that we have examined the concept of a prophetic matrix in the book of Daniel, we need to investigate the details in Daniel 7 and notice how they fit within the big picture. This vision, as with all the visions in Daniel, contain few words, but is full of detail. This vision is highly important because it establishes a historical footing for several other visions. If this particular vision is misinterpreted, the intended meaning of Daniel or Revelation will be derailed.

As the vision begins, Daniel is looking over a great body of water. From his vantage point, he sees four strange beasts rising up out of the sea. These beasts are unusual in appearance because they have strange features added to their bodies. These strange features highlight specific characteristics that help to identify the empires they represent.

1.      A lion with eagle wings

2.      A bear with ribs in its mouth

3.      A leopard with four wings and four heads

4.      A monster or terrible beast having ten horns

 

To simplify this vision and its explanation, I have divided the vision and my commentary into twelve parts. I hope you will read and reread each of these parts until all of the elements are easy to identify and understand.

Part One:

 

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.  And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” (Daniel 7:1-4, KJV)

 

Historians say the first year of Belshazzar was about 552 B.C. If so, this vision occurs about fifty years after the vision recorded in Daniel 2. Daniel saw four great beasts rise up from the sea and he was told these beasts represented four empires that would rise at their appointed time. (Daniel 7:15-16) The first beast to rise up was a lion, and it represents the empire of Babylon. Just as gold is the king of metals, so the lion is the king of beasts. The eagle’s wings indicate a military prowess that none can escape. The ancients regarded the eagle’s keen vision and its ability to swoop down on its prey as a fitting symbol of military power. (Deuteronomy 28:49) These characteristics, no doubt, prompted the founding fathers of the Unites States to use the Bald Eagle as a symbol of military power. As Daniel watched, the lion lost its power and ability to subdue nations. In this vision, the lion received a man’s heart, a heart that is subject to vanity, arrogance, and pride. This transition uniquely describes the arrogance of the kings of Babylon. God had to humiliate King Nebuchadnezzar by taking him from the throne and giving him the mind of an animal for seven years because of pride and arrogance. (Daniel 4) Unfortunately, subsequent kings of Babylon did not learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation and Babylon ultimately fell because of arrogance and vanity. (Daniel 5:22)

 

Consider the words of Daniel to King Belshazzar on the last night of Babylon’s insolence: “O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position, he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled.  But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them.  You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hands your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighted on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’” (Daniel 5:18-28, NIV) The Bible leaves no wiggle room on the identity of the lion. Daniel 2:38 say the head of gold is Babylon, and Daniel 8 tells us the next kingdom after Babylon is that of the Medes and Persians. Therefore, the lion with the man’s heart is a perfect representation of Babylon, and history agrees.

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